This post sort of goes hand in hand with last week’s post “You Never Know Who’s Watching”. This one came to life a few days after I remembered a few things I forgot after writing, something else that happened, and just the very idea about what happens after people watch something go down.
This phenomenon can take place online or offline, anytime, anywhere. This is the viral word of mouth if you will. This is what people strive for when they are marketing–they want people to talk about their product and/or their brand. It is the best marketing tool out there. Every other tactic is used to get this machine going.
Just as good ol’ word of mouth can be good, it can also be bad–after something bad or negative happens. Let’s take last week’s example along with another comment that was said that I had forgotten about.
Viral word of mouth split this thing wide open because people talk. People started talking about what was going on.
The comment I forgot: Someone else mentioned that book editors and agents talk to each other and among themselves.
So do book bloggers and reviewers. They visit each other’s blog. Today’s online book loving community is a tight knit group. Newcomers usually are welcomed in after they casually introduce themselves and earn their keep. Do something rash and outright wrong, then you are tossed out on your arse. Even after you admit your mistake, it can take a long time, if ever, to make amends. You might have to change your identity.
Take this post for an example. I know this blogger from one of the communities I hang out in. This author’s behavior was just so outright wrong that she couldn’t help but talk about it. First off, he did some rookie mistakes that most authors do when querying book bloggers: sending an impersonal blanket email and not reading her submission guidelines (this may be a post for another time). She tried to be polite to the author and share some helpful advice, but instead of taking the advice and admitting his mistake, he decided to cuss her out. His behavior was so atrocious she had to talk about it for others’ sake. Visitors took notes to avoid this author should this also happen to them or his inquiry should land in their inbox.
Take it from me. If you want people to talk about you in the book loving community, you want it to be good. Not only are people watching, people are talking.
People talk after they watch.
Let word of mouth be for you, not against you. It is powerful on both ends of the spectrum–it can build you up or let you fall into the dark abyss and destroy you, and when it happens either way it is swift. You can do this by putting your best foot and work forward, and being polite. A little kindness and respect can go a long way, and I know this to be true from experience.
Another reminder: Authors are public figures, and it takes time to build credibility, trust, and their platform. It can take less than a day or just mere seconds for all that to go up in smoke by one rash, irrational act. So think before you act–the internet is forever. Even if someone is being intentionally mean to you, the prudent thing is to not engage. Don’t feed the trolls as much as you would like to. It will blow up in your face. The online community has functions like delete, block, mute, and report abuse you can use at your disposal for trolls, so there is no need for a flame war. You don’t need that kind of drama in your life.
Let the manure truck dump on them, don’t let it get on you. It will take a long time to get rid of that smell or it may never come out.